Welcome To The World Race: Gap Year

Hello, my name is Emma Moody; I am eighteen years old and currently living in Tirana, Albania. In the beginning of November, I will move to The Philippines, and in February, South Africa. I am able to do this because I am currently taking a gap year through an organization called Adventures in Missions on their program, The World Race: Gap Year.

The World Race: Gap Year is a nine-month journey on which participants spend three months living and doing mission work in three countries around the world. My squad’s (F squad) route takes us to Albania, the Philippines, and finally South Africa. I said goodbye to family and friends and left the country on August 8th, from there my squad of 50 and I flew to Istanbul, Turkey to catch our connecting flight to Tirana, the capital of Albania. My small group team of eight girls including me has lived in the capital now for two and a half months, though our time here is coming to a close, we have been able to serve in some amazing ways. From coffee shop outreach, to prison ministry, to teaching English classes, and volunteering with sex trafficking victims and children with Down syndrome. I am excited to see and share with you what the Philippines and South Africa has in store for us.

Although pursuing a higher education has always been, and still is, very important to me, I felt as though I was not ready to go to college when I was completing college applications and essays the summer before my senior year of high school. So amidst those, I filled out a different kind of application, one for The World Race: Gap Year. The promise of adventures in foreign lands, meeting new people, tasting new foods, and all the while sharing my faith left me unable to say no when they offered me a spot on F squad.

Not many young people can say that their first year living away from their parents was in a foreign country, much less in an apartment in the heart of Albania. I believe that the things I have and will experience through this program are not things that can be taught in a classroom. Playing Old Maid with prisoners, attending church services in foreign languages, sharing your testimony with complete strangers over a cup of coffee, these are all such great learning experiences for me and ones that cannot be replicated. I am ecstatic and truly blessed to be able to pursue a world-class education at Florida State University next year, and even more grateful that the time I took to travel the world before hand will enrich my time there.

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